Wednesday, 30 November 2011
The five new views provide fresh and interesting ways to explore your favorite Blogger blogs. The Mosaic view, for example, creates a wall of thumbnails -- click one, and it zooms to fill the screen; click it again and it minimizes. Flipcard is similar to Mosaic, but not quite as eclectic. Sidebar, Timeslide and Snapshot round off the new views, with each one obviously targeted at different types of content, from photo blogs, to text-only philosophy blogs, and everything in between.
For now, you have to visit a Blogger blog and add /view to the URL to enable the new Dynamic Views. If you own a Blogger blog, you can disable the new views -- and really, why weren't they disabled by default?
If feedback is positive -- which we're sure it will be -- these Dynamic Views will soon be enabled by default. You'll also be able to edit the views in much the same way as current Blogger templates.
We've got our doubts about the authenticity of the image. In addition to showing several of the built-in games which already ship with Windows, Opera is listed -- and a competing browser seems like an odd inclusion this early on. Of course, with the browser ballot still in place in the EU for quite some time, Microsoft would probably need to include rivals like Opera and Firefox to stay out of trouble. We're also not sure why Clickgamer is shown beneath Angry Birds instead of Rovio -- the game's actual publisher.
It's still early, of course, so it's entirely possible that the Windows App Store image is genuine but merely using placeholder images and text for now. Anyone else thinking Windows Marketplace might be a more logical name? You know, to keep things consistent with Windows Phone and keep Apple's legal eagles at bay.
Seems like every time you turn around you'll see corporations using sneaky tricks to gain a competitive advantage over a different, yet equally sneaky corporation. That's usually how money is made by the people who are best at making lots of it -- at the expense of others. The cell phone industry is no different, even though we wish it were. Yes, I'm talking about Carrier IQ, and it's my turn to bitch.
Carrier IQ sells a stock client for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Android. There's strong evidence that they also make client software for other smartphone platforms, and even semi-smartphone OS's like Bada or BREW. But they're only making it easy to get the same type of data your carrier has been collecting about you since the minute you turned your cell phone on. If they're collecting it in an insecure manner, which has happened, that's bad on them, and they need to fix it -- pronto. But they're not doing it on their own. They're doing it at the behest of the manufacturer and the carrier, who uses the data to determine how to make changes that get you to spend more money when they offer you the latest shiny. If 72 percent of the people use a certain feature, you can bet your last dollar that more work goes into making that feature "better" so it's a stronger selling point. Carrier IQ, as a company, could care less what you do with your smartphone, when you do it, or why. All they do is make it easier for the people you give your money to each month to see why you like your phone. I don't work for HTC or AT&T, but I'm sure easy data collection and aggregation makes for a compelling sales pitch.
CIQ isn't doing anything it's not supposed to be doing, unless there's a software bug in play. The software was purposefully placed there in order to track what you're doing in real time. Apparently, it works pretty well. Some may argue that it's a rootkit, or a flaw of some sort, but to the people using the product -- again, the carrier and manufacturer -- it's a feature, one that they pay money to include. Remember, you are not HTC's (or Samsung, or LG, or RIM, etc.) customer -- companies like Verizon and Sprint are, and all parties find the data that's collected pretty damn useful, so they aren't likely to stop collecting it.
It could be argued that you don't have a choice in the matter. You bought the phone. And while there might be (and usually is -- see the picture above from a CIQ enabled HTC phone) some vague reference to the phone collecting data about how you use it, you likely skipped over that section, and it's not all that up-front about what's being collected or how it's being done. But on the other hand, that's probably true about 90 percent of what your phone's doing at any given time. It works exactly how it's supposed to work. Getting mad about it after the fact isn't very productive, and isn't going to solve the problem any time soon.
Vote with your wallet. You have the option to say no to this sort of data collection software, and that's done by not buying phones that use it. Every major carrier in the world now carries one of those.
Yes, I think Carrier IQ is a bad thing, done by unscrupulous people so they have more pennies to count. But all the hate towards the company that writes and sells the software is misguided. They are only filling a need, and if they stop someone else will step up to replace them. Enough words have been written about it, yet the solution for Android fans only needs three:
Buy a Nexus.
That's what you have to deal with in Line Grapefruit. But that's not all - you're also on a time limit. In fact, you have a very limited amount of time to make it through the "path" (for lack of a better word). You need to snake your way through the winding trail without touching anything. The good news is that a grapefruit only kills you if it touches the end of the line - once you've made it past the grapefruit, nothing happens if it crosses the path you've made.
This is not an easy game, but it's quite unique - I can't recall seeing another game quite like it.
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
For laptop users, there's a new option to lock the program if your system is running on battery power -- so scheduled operations don't kick in and drain your power source at an inopportune moment. If you happen to have an SSD installed in your PC, you can head to the Disk Defrag options and exclude it from scanning (many think that defragmenting an SSD is a very bad idea).
Auslogics Disk Defrag is a free download and works with most versions of Windows.
Time Warner Cable has announced that its TWC app for Honeycomb tablets is now available in the Android Market. Compatible with any set-top box or DVR running the Time Warner "Navigator" program guide, the app doesn't allow live streaming of television shows but it has some pretty cool features. You can see seven days of TV listings, control and program your DVR through the app, search TV listings by title or episode name, and even use your tablet as a remote control for supported cable boxes and DVR's.
TWC says the app has been "certified" to run as intended on the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but should work just fine with any tablet running Android 3.1 or higher. It's free in the Market, and you can find the download link after the break.